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If you need the ability to take an image to a level that you are not able to get to within traditional methods, or if you are looking for a solid alternative to the standard methods of maintaining, organizing, and processing your images, then DxO OpticsPro 11 fits the bill and I highly recommend it.

Photography Software Review: DxO OpticsPro 11 from DxO Labs

DxO OpticsPro is a software product that was created for automatically improving the quality of your photographic images. Where most image editing programs offer a wide range of corrections and let you do the work, DxO OpticsPro 11 actually analyzes the image, makes these corrections, and shows you the result. From there you can fine-tune to your taste.

So just what is DxO OpticsPro? It performs image corrections to your photos with or without human intervention. DxO Labs, a company based out of Paris, France, created DxO OpticsPro and built it on a database that combines cameras and lenses based on highly technical testing that measures not only optical defects such as distortion, lens softness, and vignetting, but also check and measure noise, colorimetry, and tone curves.

DxO OpticsPro 11
DxO OpticsPro 11

This analysis is then applied to the images you create and the adjustments are made in an attempt to produce the most correct image possible. You can also check out which cameras and lenses are supported which will help you to determine which version of DxO Optics you should buy.

While OpticsPro is similar to Adobe Lightroom or Phase One Capture One, there are differences. There is no cataloging in OpticsPro and so you basically work with your file system. For some, this may make life easier. Where this product shines is in its ability to do image enhancements and corrections based on the type of equipment that is used.

In fact, DxO has tested your camera and lenses. DxO tests each camera and each lens combination measuring optical defects, vignetting, lens softness, noise, tone curves, and more and then uses this information to present to you the best reproduction of what you captured. And these corrections are done on a pixel-by-pixel basis.

DxO OpticsPro 11
DxO OpticsPro 11

To OpticsPro, each image is unique. Even when shooting in the same location, images will differ over time. OpticsPro analyzes each image and processes them for you to determine which corrections are needed. Then it presents you with the image so that you can make the adjustments you see fit.

DxO OpticsPro gives you the ability to correct all four optical distortions (distortion, vignetting, lateral and longitudinal chromatic aberrations, and lens softness). This again is because of the high-level measurement database that their labs have been building up for years. It also gives you a correction tool for wide angle shots, which corrects deformation of faces and bodies by using non-conventional (cylindrical or spherical) perspective methods.

Another major feature is highlight recovery. This happens when one or more of the color channels are maxed out. DxO OpticsPro has a specialized “highlight recovery” engine, which adjusts the exposure level of the global image to the exact amount necessary to recover highlights.

So what is new with DxO OpticsPro 11?

• DxO Smart Lighting – adds a new feature called Spot Weighted Mode. It works like spot metering in a camera, but now you have fine-tuning abilities in post-capture. The Smart Lighting analyzes objects in the image and applies to the image respecting areas that you designate in manual mode. What it does by default is to detect a face and apply the spot metering there. If there are multiple faces, it uses an average. Then you can manipulate the intensity and OpticsPro will manage the rest of the image. When there are no faces, you can adjust as you see fit where you want the spot metering to apply.

DxO OpticsPro 11
DxO OpticsPro 11

• PRIME 2016 – is noise reduction technology that processes images four times faster while bokehs and smooth transitions are preserved. So are fine details, colors, shadows, and textures. PRIME stands for Probabilistic Raw IMage Enhancement. It analyses the structure of raw images to differentiate between noise and fine details. This works on older images that you have captured and may have deemed too noisy and allows you to capture images at even higher ISOs than ever before. To use it is as simple as opening the noise reduction tab and selecting PRIME. Keep in mind that the noise reduction will not show up on screen, it happens on export because of the intensity of the technology. You can preview selections of the image and they will render in the preview window.

• Full-screen display – lets you view your images in full screen. This lets you remove the distractions and immerse yourself into your images. Here you can rate and select images more easily than ever.

• Microcontrast Adjustment – lets you enhance detail in landscapes and textured objects. This is not for portraits or high ISO objects. It makes the adjustments automatically and then you can refine from there.

• Red-eye correction – along with face and eye detection, is applied automatically. This allows for batch processing of your images, removing the potential for red-eye before you ever get to editing your photos.

DxO OpticsPro 11
DxO OpticsPro 11

DxO OpticsPro 11, a really solid upgrade, has some interesting new features. The Smart Lighting that works with RAW and JPEG files works really well and the interface is intuitive and easy to work with. The fact that it integrates well with Adobe Lightroom is a strong plus.

What really makes DxO OpticsPro 11 stand apart from the other software of its kind is the abilities to match camera and lens and through the use of EXIF data, and to make more intelligent decisions about how to handle a particular image. It is through this that the Smart lighting, color handling, and the fixing of optics really shine.

If you need the ability to take an image to a level that you are not able to get to within traditional methods, or if you are looking for a solid alternative to the standard methods of maintaining, organizing, and processing your images, then DxO OpticsPro 11 fits the bill and I highly recommend it.


About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.

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